What is OB Nursing?

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

An OB nurse, or obstetric nurse, specializes in the care of pregnant women and newborn infants. Also called OB-GYN (obstetric-gynecologic) nurses, they are most often responsible for keeping the maternity ward of hospitals running smoothly.

An OB nurse assists pregnant patients during labor and delivery.
An OB nurse assists pregnant patients during labor and delivery.

An OB nurse is responsible for several things. The most important of these is care of the mother during labor, childbirth, and recovery. A nurse working in OB nursing will also care for the new infant. An OB nurse takes the time to educate and explain medical procedures, care, and possible health concerns to a new mother. He or she assists in childbirth, keeping the delivery room clean, organized, and stocked with what the doctor needs. This also involves helping to position a woman for childbirth, and doing their best to keep her comfortable. An OB nurse does all of the routine care, allowing doctors to concentrate on the birth itself.

An individual must have been a registered nurse before becoming an OB-GYN nurse.
An individual must have been a registered nurse before becoming an OB-GYN nurse.

OB nurses also keep track of the family members and partners that are present both during and after the birth. This might mean everything from helping family members find the right room to keeping out extra guests when there is a hospital policy about the number of people allowed at a birth. An OB nurse also may coach new mothers on breastfeeding and other new infant care.

An obstetrics nurse may be responsible for postpartum care of both mother and child.
An obstetrics nurse may be responsible for postpartum care of both mother and child.

There is a lot of schooling required before starting a career in OB nursing. It is necessary to become a registered nurse (RN) first, and an advanced nursing degree is required. A Bachelor's of Science nursing degree is required, as well as lots of experience in general nursing. Some hospitals will not hire a new nurse for OB-GYN work without any experience in OB nursing, especially not for labor and delivery floors.

An OB nurse may help prepare a new mother by coaching her on breastfeeding.
An OB nurse may help prepare a new mother by coaching her on breastfeeding.

OB nursing is both a very challenging and very rewarding career. Birth is a momentous part of life, and is usually a cause for celebration, with delivering and working with new babies being exciting work. On the other hand, the work can be heartbreaking. Babies born with health problems, or the rare death of either the mother or child, can be devastating for the nurses working with them. OB nursing is not for the weak of heart or stomach, as all types of bodily fluids are common in the delivery and recovery rooms.

There is a lot to consider when thinking about a career in OB nursing. The work is stressful and can be emotionally draining. There can be very difficult days, or nights, that can make you doubt your decision to become an OB nurse. However, OB nursing can be a great career for those who are dedicated to the job. The rewards seen by an OB nurse can more than make up for the challenges of the job.

Some overworked nurses and other medical professionals develop chronic stress both at home and in the workplace.
Some overworked nurses and other medical professionals develop chronic stress both at home and in the workplace.
Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal wiseGEEK writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

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Discussion Comments


I am currently in a program in OB nursing at a local hospital and I love it so much. I've always wanted to go into this field and doing this program has not changed my mind one bit. This job for sure has a lot of pros and cons to it. You have to be emotionally and physically ready to see what's new every day.


What is the average salary of an OB nurse?


I'm 20 years old and I want to become an OB nurse. Since I was a child I always wanted to be part of the medical field and always knew I wanted to work with babies. I just need to know how do I get started.


I'm working to become an OB nurse now. It's hard work and you have to be determined but, in the end, very worth it.


I'm 17 years old and i want to become an O.B nurse and I really want to get more info on it. Any help?


I'm Myiesha and I want to become a OB nurse. How long does it take?


I am 16 years old and a junior in high school. I've always known that I wanted to do something that involves babies. I originally had a PICU nurse career set for awhile. But I had a very hard experience with my nephew having to be in there for two months so I couldn't do it. But now I see the OB and I think it'll be amazing to do this career but I'm not that excellent in school.


I'm 13 years old and from WI. About four years ago I wanted to be a nurse but I didn’t know what kind. I knew I wanted to work with babies or kids but I did not want to be a pediatrician so me and my best friend went online and looked up all the types of nursing there are, and this is what interested me the most.

The only problem is that I'm not the best in school and don’t know how long these degrees will take! I still want to help people but what do you think I can do to help myself improve so I can become an OB-GYN nurse?


I'm 17 years old and a junior in high school in adams county ohio. and i want to be an OB nurse someday but i don't know the pay or what type of degree i would need. my mom's an lpn but she doesn't know much about the OB nurses. Any information would be helpful.


I am 12 years old and I would love to do this job. I've been wanting to do this job since I was, like 2. But everybody is like making fun of me because I want to do it, because like they think it's gross to see a part of the life cycle. I just want to do this job so bad!


Hey I am 13 and this is a job I would love to do!


I really want to be any kind of nurse, but this one interested me the most!


I am 16 years old. i have been interested in this field for a very long time. how would i start this wonderful career?


I am just feeling around for what I want to be when I grow up. When I was about seven, I asked my mom, "What kind of job would require someone to take care of babies, other than babysitting, etc." she then told me O.B nursing was something she once tried out, but the math proved too difficult for her.

I am now 13 and wanting the information about pay, talk to some experienced O.B nurses, and what your grades need to be. Thanks for reading!


I want to become an ob nurse too. I am 13 years old and I think its so cool that there are other teens on here that want to become an ob nurse too. I love babies. they are adorable.


I'm in nursing school and our professor talked about career opportunities. Basically you have to work 1-3 years in a more general area (med-surg, postpartum etc) before they'll put you in OB. This area is very competitive and they don't hire new graduates.


I think that becoming an OB will be a very rewarding job. It does say in this article that you need to understand what type of stresses may come with this job. I believe in my case that the rewards would outweigh the bad things. Nonetheless, it is so important to consider all parts of becoming an OB.


i know that I'm only 13 and all but i think that just because you're young doesn't mean that you can't understand that yeah, it's going to be hard and very stressful.

But like i told my teacher, I'm so ready to make a difference for once, because all I've done so far is eat and sleep. i really want to make a difference to babies and their mothers alike because i absolutely love babies. They're so cute!


at first i wasn't even planning to go to college but now that i have looked into this field and career, i am interested. i think this is where my career lies.


i have been interested in being a nurse for a long time, but i never really knew what type. After doing lots of research i have found that an ob nurse is perfect for me because i am a very passionate person and i want to be the person who is helping the pregnant patients all throughout their journey to becoming a new mother. Now i am positive this is the career for me!


i am fifteen years old and i have two more years of high school left to go. this is my dream job and i can't wait to get into it. i love babies, kids and adults. i am a very caring person and very responsible. i love to take care of people. That is what i do and I babysit all summer.


I'm 15 years old and I love working with kids, especially babies. Being an OB nurse is my dream job and I can't wait to start, even though I still have to graduate high school and get my nursing degree.


I want this career. I love it.


I'm 12 all so and at first I wanted to be an obstetrician but after I found out that it took eight or 10 years, I decided to become an ob nurse because it taked four years and by the time I'm 18 I can graduate at age 21 and still enjoy my 20s.


i want this! I'm so good with children, and i understand that the job can be very stressful at some times, and can be very heartbreaking, but time does move and and I'm looking forward to becoming an ob nurse.


i am really good with children and working with others and that is why i would like to be an ob nurse. i know that there may be some rough days but i am willing to help those in need.

I'm only 13 but i am ready to grow up and make something of myself. i am also looking for a nice college to go to to help me become an ob nurse. thank you.


after i had my baby i am set on what i want to do. this is the career i am looking forward to.


I am a junior in high school and I shadowed an OB nurse. Basically you are there for the birth and are the one who cleans the baby and puts in the information for the birth certificate.

You also stay with the baby after and do exercises that are numbered and let you know if the baby was too early or not. You clean the baby and get him or her dressed.

You also check on the mother and the family to make sure things are running smoothly.


I'm actually twelve and I've always wanted this kind of career!

I'm very serious about school and where I'm going to college and all of that so this article was very helpful. I know that i would have to go to school for four years but where can i go to get that experience?

Like I'm going to school for four years straight and i want to be able to get a job right after that.

I live in Louisiana and i want to work at the women's hospital. It's right up the street from where i live so i have very easy access to get there and, oh yeah, i volunteer there and work with the children who wait in waiting rooms. It's a lot of fun! -ddavis0191


i was wondering how time consuming this field is? would i be able to have a family and kids without struggle getting to their events?


i'm a senior in high school and i love babies and helping them out. i really want to do this job but i need more information on it, like how many years of college and the degrees i would need and plus more. thank you for the time.


You will need a minimum of four years of college, with a bachelor of science degree in Nursing, and get your RN certification. If a concentration is available at your college/university for OB, you'll need to specialize in that. A master's degree is even better. Good luck. Good nurses are needed in every part of medicine.


Hi I just graduated from high school and have always loved babies. I have been looking into this career, how many years of college do I need?


Hi, I'm 17, and i've always enjoyed babies. I'm getting ready for college and would like to start a career in nursing. How long approximately does it take to be an OB-GYN?


i want to work in this field. how long does it take to become an ob-gyn nurse?


Hi, I am 16 years old and I am looking to interview an OB-GYN for a research paper. If you would like to answer some of questions please write back! Thank You very Much.


Hello, I am very interested in becoming a part of this field! I know all the facts about the job, except for the pay. I know it depends on how many hours you work but I just want an average figure.

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